The Confessions of Edward Isham

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1998-11-01
  • Publisher: Univ of Georgia Pr

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This compelling collection of original documents and current scholarship sheds considerable light on the underside of the poor white experience in the antebellum South. In 1859, the Georgian Edward Isham, convicted in North Carolina of murdering a Piedmont farmer, dictated his life story to his court-appointed defense attorney. The autobiography left behind provides a rare look at the world of poor whites from the viewpoint of a member of this most elusive of the Old South's social groups. A selection of essays accompanying the autobiography examines the meaning of the document from a variety of perspectives: crime, frontier life, gender relations, labor, and the genre of nineteenth-century confessional literature.

Author Biography

Charles C. Bolton is an associate professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. Scott P. Culclasure is an international baccalaureate coordinator for the Guildford County, North Carolina, schools.

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Acknowledgments xiii
Introduction xv
J. William Harris
Autobiography of Edward Isham, Alias ``Hardaway Bone''
Edward Isham and Poor White Labor in the Old South
Charles C. Bolton
A Stereoscopic View of the Frontier: George Swain, Edward Isham, and the Resettlement of the Cherokee Country
David H. Kleit
``I Have Killed a Damned Dog'': Murder by a Poor White in the Antebellum South
Scott P. Culclasure
Edward Isham and Criminal Justice for the Poor White in Antebellum North Carolina
Scott P. Culclasure
Mothers, Lovers, and Wives: Images of Poor White Women in Edward Isham's Autobiography
Victoria E. Bynum
The Worlds of Nineteenth-Century Condemned Men
Joseph P. Reidy
Appendix A: Maps 117(4)
Appendix B: Superior Court Judge Robert R. Health's Statement of the Case State v. Hardaway Bone 121(7)
Appendix C: Newspaper Accounts Relating to Edward Isham 128(5)
Notes 133(52)
Contributors 185(2)
Index 187

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